John writes: My aunt showed to me a coin she holds close to her heart because of the memories it holds. On a trip to her house today she relayed her story to me, and she was given this 1937 Lost Colony half dollar by her father in 1937 at the play “The Lost Colony,” and I am curious, for my aunt as well as myself, what the history of this coin may be and what a possible value may be. I must add that it is a beautiful representation of Virginia Dare and on the obverse, Sir Walter Raleigh.
The Roanoke Island, North Carolina half dollar was part of the United States commemorative half dollar program that began in 1892 and continues today. The coin was first issued at a celebration at Old Fort Raleigh in 1937 and commemorates the 350th anniversary of Sir Walter Raleigh’s “Lost Colony” and the birth of Virginia Dare, the first Child of European extraction born in British North America.
The coin was designed by Baltimore’s William Marks Simpson and shows a bust of Sir Walter Raleigh facing left and on the reverse, a standing figure of Ellinor Dare holding the baby Virginia Dare. The Philadelphia Mint struck only 29,030 pieces. It is a popular coin among U.S. commemorative collectors but the major demand is for uncirculated examples. Depending on grade (condition), Roanoke Island commemorative half dollars bring approximately $75 – $250.